On y va!! Cape Town!!

After two years we are on our way to see family and friends in Cape Town! We will be there DV tomorrow! The kids have lists of things to eat, things to buy, and places to go. Linkway, Cross Trainers, Revolve, ACS-gymnastics, E-sports-tumbling, tennis, milkshakes, Steers Burgers, Wimpy coffee, family braais… We will see how we fit it all in. : )

For the next three weeks we will trade la Tour Eiffel for Table Mountain!

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We have been in Beynes for a year and in France for two years. Actually two months more, to be precise, but I just haven’t got to writing this post. You get busier, which means that live is turning back to normal.

School closed in June for the nice, two and a half month, summer holiday. Two years ago the children arrived with a french vocabulary of ‘Bonjour, comment ça va?’ They had to go straight into french public schools and now they can proudly add french as their third language.

The beginning of this year was a bit difficult again as they were now part of the normal classes. No more help from a special french teacher. At the end of the first term the boys were still a bit under class average and some teachers thought that maybe we should look for an English school.
We thought: ‘You don’t work this hard and get this far, and then give up.’ As always the boys just carried on, didn’t get discouraged, made friends, had fun, worked hard and finished the year well above class average. We are really, really proud.
They will be in Terminal when school starts in September. The final school year. In the next months the decisions for university will be made. What and where, we will see.

The girls did so well, that I can’t really say much about them. They are now just two ‘french’ girls in a french school, who get very good marks. : ) For Mandi its off to Lycée for grade 10 and she will be in the same school as the boys.

Everyone is still very much involved in sport. Franci doing gymnastics. Jaco with tennis and karate. Pieter and Mandi at tumbling. In September we will see what the next year brings.

The rest of us still do the same thing. Danie works at work and then works at home : ) I see that everyone eats and have clean clothes and…  walk around in Paris. : ) The two of us can’t really add french as our third language yet. I do get along and can organize what needs to be done. Mistakes do happen sometimes though…

For the first teacher’s meeting this year, we received letters which I had to return with a choice between: J’assiste and J’assiste pas. So, of course I said that I can’t assist, not with my bad french. At the meeting Franci’s teacher skipped her name every time she had to hand out something, so after a while I told her that we are actually there, and I couldn’t understand why she looked so puzzled. Ok, now I also know that assiste actually means attend. : ) So we learn.

Jaco and Pieter are busy with driving lessons. In french and on the wrong side of the road of course. : ) I can already see how I am going to send them around soon. : )

For now we will leave la Tour Eiffel with her friends…

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…to enjoy family and friends and September we will be ready to start the third school year in France.

à bientot Paris, and…

à demain for everyone in Cape Town!

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Switzerland!

It’s already a month ago that we were in Switzerland and spring is (supposed to be) here, so I shouldn’t be writing about winter anymore. But then we still had a little snow yesterday on a (supposed to be) lovely spring day, so writing about winter might still be ok. : )

Switzerland is such a clean country… compared to France. The train stations are so clean, you don’t even have to hold your breathe to avoid strange smells. : )
Really, as beautiful as Paris is you need to watch your step. You should never trust water on sidewalks. You have to step over it, as you can not be sure what it is… and Paris has many fancy little dogs with owners that does not clean after them. Ok… it’s not that bad, the beautiful makes up for that. Just watch your step. : ) Then I could write a paragraph about public toilets in France… but I won’t do that. : )
Well, public toilets in Switzerland had us completely surprised. Not even one wet drop on the floor and no strange smells at all.
So maybe if you are someone who need to decide between moving to Switzerland or rather to France, you can add two things in favour of Switzerland. Clean public toilets… and everyone can speak English! That made life easy. Ok, that was just by the way. Now you also know. : )

I have seen Switzerland in summer before, and everyone knows how pretty that is, but Switzerland in winter is just as pretty. We stayed in Interlaken. Which I thought would not be good for the skiing, but it is situated in the Jungfrau region and everything there is geared for skiing. The ski bus stopped in front of the hotel or you can just walk the 10 minutes to the station and take the train to the ski village.

Interlaken, with a view on the Jungfrau.
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The ski village, Grindelwald.
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As the boys have done snowboarding before they had to coach the girls. Day one was spent to rent the equipment and for ‘lessons’ on the ski school slopes.

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The nice thing of safe public transport is that we could let the children go do their snowboarding and we could do some sightseeing.

A visit to the pretty little village, Wengen, high up in the mountains. There are no cars in Wengen, you can only reach it by train.

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The old city of Bern.

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A visit to the Paul Klee museum in Bern. The largest collection of Paul Klee’s works. Well, if you know Paul Klee’s work you will surely understand why Danie thought the amount we paid to enter this museum was maybe not worth it. : )

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We had to visit Luzern, just for a photograph on that pretty wooden bridge.

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After days filled with sunshine, it started snowing on this trip to Luzern.

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Back in Interlaken…

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…and then the now ‘pro’ snowboarders had to greet Switzerland and the slopes.

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and hopefully soon we will have coffee in Switzerland again : )

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Collonges-la-Rouge

19 August 2011

On our way back on Monday we stopped at this little village. Collonges-la-Rouge is on the list of ‘most beautiful villages in France’. To be on the list it has to meet certain criteria of which one is that the population must not exceed 2000 inhabitants. Collonges-la-Rouge is entirely built with red sandstone. The entire village is classified as a historical monument.

…picturesque, pretty…

and then the nutella crêpes…

and all the shops sell foie gras…

A weekend in Corrèze

15 August 2011

This weekend was a long weekend in France, and we were privileged to spend it with our friends Ronelle and Hartman on their french farm ‘Coin Perdu’ in Corrèze. Their closest town is Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and this is about 500km south of Paris. South means better weather, so we had some summer days to sit in the sun and the kids could even enjoy a swim. We left Friday morning at 10…

…a first stop for ‘pain au chocolat’ and coffee…

…and a second cooldrink break…

…Coin Perdu…

…and our tents under the apple tree…
 

They are busy restoring the old stone buildings. Almost done with the house and in the meantime they are staying in the barn, which is well equipped and beautiful with the old wooden floor and stone walls.

…a braai every evening, played Pétanque

en daar is tot kleilat gegooi…

…the end of our first roadtrip in France…